Are Social Justice Warriors Snowflakes?


Psychology / Sunday, April 29th, 2018

Philosopher David Livingstone Smith begins his book Why We Lie with the story of Mel, a little girl who digs out corm, an edible bulb, from rock-hard Ethiopian ground in the dry season when food is scarce. Little Paul watched her. When Mel was done, Paul started crying loudly. Paul’s mother came out and ran after Mel, assuming she had harassed Paul. Paul picked up the corm and started eating, making sure nobody was looking. Is Paul a “snowflake”, a “crybaby” who is too fragile to survive in the adult world? Is he too sensitive that we need to build “safe spaces” for him? Is he mentally ill? Is he, well, a social justice warriorWe know these are ridiculous questions. Paul is just misbehavingPaul is an annoying child. He is greedy and manipulative, not empathetic. He’ll do fine in the adult world, so long as it is governed by similar incentives. And in many ways, it is. We need to get real and see bad behavior for what it is. It is more productive to punish Paul’s bad behavior. It is more important to protect Mel and build safe spaces for her.

Read my essay Are Social Justice Warriors Snowflakes?

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